There was a sad hateful relationship between the villain Hector Hammond and his estranged father, Senator Robert Hammond. It’s a classic case of the son being bitter because he cannot measure up to his dad’s expectations: Dad doesn’t respect child’s unique abilities and doesn’t develop a real connection with him. Child grows resentful towards dad. Child uses newly acquired telekinetic powers to burn dad to a crisp.
Classic Hollywood…yet that’s a reality a lot of children live through, with disastrous results.
A blogger, whose articles taught me how to start this blog site up, said in his Father’s Day piece that those with good memories of their loving and supportive fathers are very blessed, and are likely the minority. His own dad did not appreciate his career path and set verbal volleys his way every time they met.
I remember hearing about a greeting card company once allowing all the inmates of a particular jail to send greeting cards to their mothers for Mother’s Day. So many inmates took advantage of this opportunity, totally swamping the booth and it took the whole day for the inmates to be served. It was a huge success, so much so that the card company wanted to do the same thing for Father’s Day.
When they went back to the jail for the Father’s Day gig, not a single inmate took the offer to honor his father with a card. Yes, if I do remember it right, not one. Sad, isn’t it?
Being an overbearing, iron-fisted authoritarian is a sure fire way to provoke your children to anger. Yet neglect, found on the opposite side of the parenting spectrum, can also get the provoking-to-anger job done as well…and we can surmise that Hector Hammond is a case of the latter.
So how do you not provoke your children to anger, then? I will let the second part of the Bible verse give the answer, this time using the Word English Bible version:
“…but nurture them in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”
To nurture, and a synonym “to nourish,” (used in another version) bring strong imagery of a close relationship, full of trust, respect, and growth. I also think of an expert gardener, carefully making sure the soil around his or her plant is of good quality, lovingly watering it day in and day out, and carefully pruning it if need be. It certainly isn’t the authoritarian nor isn’t the negligent parent.
Are you, as a parent, as a dad, nurturing your child?
1. Be the kind of person you want your child to become. Hypocrisy is the fastest way for your child to lose respect for you, but “practice what you preach” modeling is the most powerful way of teaching.
2. Have a good relationship. Just because you’re related doesn’t mean you’re close. It takes effort to develop closeness. It also takes…
3. Time. Rick Warren, in his best seller The Purpose Driven Life said it best when he said that that best way to spell love is T-I-M-E. This means that you do what they like to do, and look for the magic moments.
4. Make sure you communicate. When you hear the word “communicate” what immediately comes to mind? Talking? Wrong. Trust me; there can be a whole lot of talking, but no communication. Communicating is listening.
5. Affirm them with positive words. The tongue could very well be the most powerful muscle in your body, because it can shape another persons life for the better, or it can totally destroy it.
6. You need to, honest to goodness, love them unconditionally. Sen. Hammond is an example of a man who didn’t do that. And many of us could be there, be it comparing your child to another, labeling them, not complementing the good traits but highlighting the bad ones.
7. Lastly, you expect the best from them. My boss always pounds it in me to never look at my student as what he is now, but to look at him as what he could become. That’s great parenting advice, too.
This is all from the Parenting That Makes a Difference series that my church does. Soon, my young-couples small group will do this 6-week series together. It will cover each of these points in detail, containing powerful and practical advice from one of the best parenting speakers in this country. If you live in Cagayan de Oro, and are, well, a young couple, then consider this an invitation.